Getting back to .500 was the first step of a big week for the Danville Dans.

On Monday night, Danville started its biggest stretch of Prospect League games this season with a 8-4 victory over the Springfield Sliders at Robin Roberts Stadium.

With the win, the Dans are back at the .500 mark (18-18) for the 11th time this season.

“We’re running out of games this summer and we need to make our move if we are going to catch Quincy,’’ said Danville manager Pete Paciorek, whose team now trails the West Division leading Gems (24-12) by six games after Quincy lost to Richmond 5-3 on Monday.

“Quincy is a very good team, but we still believe that we are good enough to catch them,’’ he said.

That’s why this current week is so vital to the Dans.

Danville will play five of their next six games at home starting with tonight’s 6:30 p.m. contest with the DuPage Dragons (18-19), the team that is right behind the Dans in the West Division standings.

“We haven’t played that well against DuPage this summer,’’ said Paciorek, whose team is just 2-4 against the Dragons. “We need to get that turned around.’’

Additionally, Paciorek is hoping for a big crowd as it is two-buck Tuesday. Admission is just $2 as are the beers.

Getting the offense started on Monday night for Danville was center fielder Mikie Mahtook.

The sophomore-to-be from the National Champion LSU Tigers went 2-for-4 with four runs scored.

“Mikie has really been swinging the bat well lately, but not getting the results,’’ Paciorek said. “That hasn’t stopped him from working hard at getting better.

“We left today at 2:30, and Mikie was that ballpark taking extra batting practice, along with a few other guys, at 1 p.m. That’s a sign for a very good baseball player to put in that kind of work.’’

Jason Nappi and Jason Hamm also contributed a pair of hits in the winning cause, while Ryan Van Amburg had a pair of RBIs.

Right-hander Aaron Lambrix earned his fourth win of the summer, allowing just one run in six innings.

“Ever since we put Aaron in the starting rotation he has been lights out,’’ Paciorek said. “And I think the guys know that when he takes the mound we have a great shot of winning.’’

Kyle Donawerth went the final three frames to get his first save.


Patel, Shah claim

14 doubles title

DANVILLE — The Jocko’s, Pepsi, Commercial-News Greater Danville Area Junior Open got started on Monday.

In the first final, Neha Patel and Amy Shah defeated Rachel Lewis and Becca Lewis in the girls 14-and-under doubles division.

Patel and Shah dropped the first set in a tie breaker 7-6 (7-5) before rallying to win the final two sets, 6-2, 7-5.

In the girls 18-and-under singles, River Lane defeated Mariana Dias, 6-3, 6-1 a semifinal match.

In the boys 18-and-under singles, Tyler Ellis, Adam Huls, Logan Nelson and Andy Bott reached the semifinals and those matches will be played Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

The junior open continues through Friday, and the adult divisions will take the court this weekend.

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